Facebook Plans Cheap Web For Poorer Countries
Some of the world's biggest technology companies have joined forces to provide cheaper internet access for people in developing countries.
Led by Facebook, the project aims to get more of the world's seven billion people online by providing low-cost smartphones.
It hopes to cut the cost of providing mobile internet services to 1% of its current level within the next decade.
Developers will also make apps that use less data, allowing networks to run more efficiently with a greater number of users.
Facebook, for example, hopes to reduce the amount of data its Android app consumes from an average of 12MB per user per day to 1MB.
Mark Zuckerburg, founder and CEO of the social networking site, said: "Connecting the world is one of the greatest challenges of our generation.
"There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy.
"Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it."
An estimated two-thirds of the world's population is still without internet access, with the number of people using websites and email growing at around 9% a year.
Internet.org, which is backed by mobile phone manufacturers Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson, as well as engineering companies Qualcomm and Mediatek and software provider Opera, is one of a number of projects aimed at increasing internet usage.
Google recently announced Project Loon, which uses balloons to provide internet access in remote parts of the world, while Twitter has made its service free on some mobile phone networks.